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Mexico v Venezuela: Top spot up for grabs in Houston

Top spot in Copa America Centenario Group C is up for grabs when Mexico and Venezuela go head to head at the NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday.

Mexico booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory over Uruguay and a 2-0 win against Jamaica, while Venezuela overcame both sides 1-0 to secure a spot in the last eight.

Those triumphs have extended El Tri’s winning run to 11 matches, with coach Juan Carlos Osorio retaining his 100 per cent record since taking the helm from interim boss Ricardo Ferretti in October.

Two Copa America wins in a row is a first for Venezuela and it took them 60 games to achieve it, but Mexico striker Oribe Peralta is not shocked by their displays.

“We are not surprised at all that Venezuela is playing this way because there are many players who are in Europe, who have been standing out,” he said.

“For us, it is important to ensure first place in the group on Monday, because we know the capability of our opponents.

“But in the Copa you have to beat whoever is in front of you and the team is very committed and aware of what is needed.”

Osorio made four changes despite the opening win over Uruguay, but Peralta insists the team are happy with the rotation policy and desperate to take their chances.

“We take it very well because you have to be 100 per cent for each game,” he continued.

“Because you do not know when your moment will be, you have to give it your best shot when you have the chance.

“Ultimately, we are all here for what we have done and what we can give.”

Venezuela lost their two previous encounters with Mexico in this competition in 1995 and 1999, losing 3-1 on both occasions, and are yet to win in 11 matches against El Tri.

Of course, Vinotinto striker Josef Martinez is also hoping for a victory to qualify from the group in pole position, but insists they will not fear any side in the last eight.

“Regardless of who we get, like if we played the world champions, to Venezuela will give the same,” he said.

“We are going to play toe-to-toe with anyone, we came here to leave the name of Venezuela up high.”

It is a straight shoot-out for pole position, with topping the group likely to steer the winners clear of a quarter-final tie against Lionel Messi and Argentina.

Sun 12 Jun, 2016
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